Peck Attends ALI Consumer Contracts Session

November 11th, 2021

     Resuming the process of writing a restatement of the law on consumer contracts after a two-year hiatus due to controversy, the American Law Institute conducted a virtual members' consultative group meeting on the newest draft sections. CCL's Robert S. Peck, as a member of the consultative group, attended the meeting.

     When what was intended to be a final draft was discussed in May 2019, members objected to provisions that many regarded as dated and insufficiently protective of consumer interests. Only the definitional section of the restatement won approval as the following sections were debated at length without a vote. The new draft attempts to address some of the criticisms but, at the meeting, still proved subject to much questioning and to many suggested changes. A revised draft is expected next year.

Peck Posts Thoughts on Qualified Immunity

October 24th, 2021

     In his most recent contribution to the Appellate Advocacy Blog, CCL President Robert S. Peck posted a discussion entitled "Qualifying Qualifying Immunity." The blog post discusses two recent U.S. Supreme Court per curiam decisions reinstating qualifying immunity for police officers, as well as CCL's experience with the judge-made doctrine. 

     Despite its long existence, the doctrine of qualifying immunity continues to have uneven application, especially between circuits, and applications that can fairly be described as insensible.

CCL's Robert S. Peck Attends ABA Annual Meeting Governance Sessions

August 10th, 2021

      CCL's Robert S. Peck attended the Council meetings of the ABA's Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) and its House of Delegates meetings during a hybrid convention. The meetings set policy for the TIPS and the ABA as a whole.

      Peck is a member of the TIPS Council and one of the TIPS representatives to the House of Delegates.

CCL's Peck Participates in ALI Meeting

May 17th, 2021

    CCL President Robert S. Peck participated in the 2021 Annual Meeting of the American Law Institute, where the organization approved sections of its latest Restatement of Torts dealing with intentional torts. The ALI is a prestigious legal organization that studies and provides authoritative distillations of the law, noting new and useful trends. 

    The current torts project began in 1990 and, with today's approval, has reached only the halfway point of its comprehensive examination of tort law.

CCL's Peck Participates in RAND Institute for Civil Justice Board Meeting

March 11th, 2021

   In a virtual board of advisors meeting, RAND's Institute for Civil Justice presented findings from two projects in its ongoing research. The first focused on the variation in size of federal juries. The project is examining explanations for why district courts choose different jury sizes as a precursor to research that will attempt to establish the optimal size for a jury in civil cases. A second presentation looked at issues in pandemic risk insurance. As a member of the board of advisors and a past president of the group, CCL's Robert S. Peck participated in the meeting.

CCL's Peck Participates in ABA House of Delegates Meeting

February 22nd, 2021

     CCL President Robert S. Peck voted on a variety of resolutions, including ones that addressed disputes over the 2020 presidential election, during the course of the American Bar Association's House of Delegates meeting, which took place virtually. Peck is one of three delegates representing the ABA Trial, Tort, and Insurance Practice Section. 

     One resolution laid out basic principles about the conduct of elections and urged Congress to give "controlling effect" to the popular vote winner in that jurisdiction. A second resolution urged adoption of laws that prohibited the possession or display of firearms by persons other than governmentally authorized military personnel, law enforcement, or security forces around specific areas where legislative debate is taking place or ballots cast.

Peck Assists Cruise Liability Case

February 11th, 2021

     In Morrison v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, a federal magistrate judge must determine issues of liability and law after a three-day trial, in which the Miami's Aronfeld law firm represented the plaintiff, injured when she tripped over an out-of-place, marble-based ashtray in the ship's casino. Prior to decision, the judge asked both sides to offer a draft findings of fact and conclusions of law. Yesterday, plaintiff's counsel filed their proposed fact and legal conclusions, with an assist from CCL's Robert S. Peck.

     The plaintiff's injuries were severe, as the wine glass in her hand shattered and glass was embedded in her face, while also causing mild head trauma from a concussion. The cruise line sought to defend by asserting that the plaintiff was intoxicated on the basis of less then three glasses of wine over a six-hour period of time, on the open and obvious nature of the two-foot tall heavy ashtray, even if obscured by a stool, and by the ship's lack of notice that the ashtray was out of place. Peck's legal analysis provided the court with several different precedents to demonstrate that notice was established based on the facts -- from a witness's testimony that the ashtray was out of place for about 30 minutes, from Royal Caribbean's acknowledgement that guests using slot machines will often move the ashtrays and that crew members are responsible for patrolling the narrow aisles and putting them back in place, and from prior incidents involving the ashtrays. 

     The case is now under advisement.

CCL's Robert S. Peck Recognized with "High Honors" for Pro Bono Work

October 29th, 2020

     The District of Columbia Courts announced today Center for Constitutional Litigation President Robert S. Peck has made its 2019 Pro Bono Honor Roll with "High Honors," the highest recognition it gives. The program, which dates back to 2011, is a joint project of the courts, the D.C. Access to Justice Commission, and the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center. In awarding high honors to Peck, the courts recognize that he has provided more than 100 hours of pro bono legal work.


CCL's Banner Day Continues with Ninth Circuit Win

June 12th, 2020

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reinstated the jury's verdict today in a case against Chrysler, taken away by a judge who held the evidence of breach of warranty insufficient.

     For years, Chrysler had put a electrical control module into its engines as a space-saving feature. It failed with regularity because of the engine's heat and the distance the current had to travel to get to the pump. The plaintiffs' previous Chrysler kept failing for that reason after less than a year. Chrysler assured them that the new model had fixed the problem, but it didn't. They sued.

     A jury ruled in their favor, awarding compensatory and punitive damages. The judge, however, found the evidence that Chrysler had notice of the problem to be insufficient and entered judgment for the defendant.

     Today, the Ninth Circuit held the judge was wrong, that the evidence was sufficient, and that the jury's compensatory damage verdict had to be reinstated. As for punitive damages, because the judge used the wrong standard in evaluating the compensatory damages, the Court ordered him to use the correct one in evaluating whether evidence supported the punitive damages.

     The decision comes on a day in which CCL's Robert S. Peck, who briefed the case, also argued a case in the Eleventh Circuit, as well as filed briefs in courts in West Virginia and California. 

CCL President Receives Amicus Award

May 18th, 2020

     CCL President Robert S. Peck received the 2020 Amicus Award from the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA). The award recognizes Peck for his work on behalf of municipalities. Most recently, Peck provided pro bono representation to IMLA, the National League of Cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in a series of lawsuits involving climate change that were pending in the First, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits, articulating the reasons why appellate review of an attempt to remove these cases from state to federal court should be limited to whether the defendant oil companies can claim federal officer status. Originally, the presentation of the award was to take place at IMLA's 2020 Convention in Washington, DC, but the convention was cancelled in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Peck has also represented a number of U.S. cities as plaintiffs in fair housing litigation, seeking to challenge discriminatory mortgage lending practices. Those cities have included Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami, Miami Gardens, Oakland, and Sacramento.